[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Saturday, 2010-05-29

Steampunk Nerf Maverick: Rev 6A color tests

Filed under: Gaming — bblackmoor @ 16:59

This is my second attempt to modify a Nerf Maverick for steampunk costuming purposes. (My first attempt was in March 2010.)

I will eventually post all of the photos of this process online, but this blog post is specifically to address the color scheme. Rather than paint over and over until I like the colors, as I did with the prototype, I have decided to use Photoshop to try and apply different color schemes to see how I like them.

Nerf Maverick black base coat
This is a photo of the gun with most of the parts placed where they are supposed to go, with the base coat of satin black.

Nerf Maverick gold
This is what it would look like painted solid gold.

Nerf Maverick brass
This is what it would look like painted solid brass.

Nerf Maverick caramel
This is what it would look like painted solid caramel metallic.

Nerf Maverick copper
This is what it would look like painted solid copper. A friend of mine says this makes it look like it’s made of chocolate. Chocopunk!

Nerf Maverick steel
This is what it would look like painted solid steel.

Nerf Maverick scheme 01
Color scheme 01. I don’t like the gold on the decorations. I thought that I would.

Nerf Maverick scheme 02
Color scheme 02. Base color is gold. I think it looks garish.

Nerf Maverick scheme 03
Color scheme 03. Brass with a lot of copper highlights. I like this one.

Nerf Maverick scheme 04
Color scheme 04. Brass with a bit less copper. I like this one better.

Nerf Maverick scheme 05
Color scheme 05. Black highlights on the slide and frame. Not too bad.

Nerf Maverick scheme 06
Color scheme 06. There are things I like about this color scheme, but I think it has too many colors. I do like the black on the grip.

Nerf Maverick scheme 07
Color scheme 07. I kept the black on the grip, and simplified the color scheme a bit. Still not quite right.

Nerf Maverick scheme 08
Color scheme 08. Black on the grip, simpler color scheme, and the flourishes are not highlighted at all. I think that this is the scheme I will use, but I will sleep on it.

Nerf Maverick scheme 09
Color scheme 09. Copper slide, and the decorations on the slide and frame are highlighted. I think I like scheme 08 better.

Nerf Maverick scheme 10
Color scheme 10. Black grip, black highlights, some more color on the cylinder.

Nerf Maverick scheme 11
Color scheme 11. Same as 10, but with caramel frame and slide decorations.

Nerf Maverick scheme 12
Color scheme 12. Something different: black frame, brass and copper highlights.

Nerf Maverick scheme 13
Color scheme 13. Same as 10, but with copper frame and slide decorations.

Friday, 2010-05-28

American Godzilla

Filed under: General — bblackmoor @ 17:18

American GodzillaI am watching the American Godzilla movie, arguably the most widely reviled monster movie ever made. It has some serious problems. For example, they continue calling Godzilla “he” after they discover that it is pregnant. That’s just stupid. Additionally, the female romantic lead, played by Maria Pitillo, is both monumentally dim-witted and morally reprehensible, yet we are supposed to sympathize with her. I think not. The pacing is sluggish — the entire middle third of the movie should have been left on the cutting room floor, in my opinion. I also did not like the way they killed Godzilla at the end. The real Godzilla would not have gone down that way (it reminded me of the pathetic way that Mace Windu died — “like a punk”, in the words of Sam Jackson). And, most damning of all, the design of the monster’s head is just ludicrous.

However, it does have a lot going for it. The early scenes in which ships are destroyed without actually showing Godzilla are really effective. Even the design of the monster itself, aside from the head, is pretty nifty, and the shots of it moving — running, swimming, and so on — are really well done. The cast also has its strong points. Jean Reno is brilliant, and Hank Azaria, Vicki Lewis, and Doug Savant give solid supporting performances.

So, is American Godzilla a great movie? No. It’s not even a great Godzilla movie. But it’s not as bad as people say.

Youth is like spring, an overpraised season

Filed under: Movies,Work — bblackmoor @ 14:11

So many interesting things are happening. My new classes start on June 1: CCJS 105, Introduction to Criminology, and CMSC 230 Computer Science II. After I finish these two classes, the rest will all be upper-level (300 and 400). I am currently 36 credits away from my Computer Science degree. I have been debating whether to get a minor in Criminology, but that would add six credits to what I still need. I am not certain that it is worth it.

I had a great job interview today, with a small marketing company that helps nonprofit organizations (and, less often, for-profit organizations) organize fund-raising events. They say that I am one of the “lead candidates”; I have a second interview scheduled for next week. I have high hopes for this. Working for a small business, helping make the world a little bit better, and still working in IT is pretty much the trifecta of what I would like to do for a living.

In other news, I picked up all five (yes, five — I was surprised there are this many) Return Of The Living Dead movies on Ebay for $21 including shipping. Not a bad deal! I think that is how I will be spending my Memorial Day weekend. I have seen the first one (which is great), and I think I have seen the third one, but the rest are unknown to me.

And I am still coughing, but much less frequently, and less forcefully, then I was.

Wednesday, 2010-05-26

Gun safety program attacked by despicable political weasels

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 11:16

Opponents of self-defense and civil rights are attacking the Virginia General Assembly for funding gun-safety programs in Virginia elementary schools.

When I was eight years old, I found a revolver behind the couch at someone’s house (the adults were not around). I was there with three other children, all younger than I was. It did not for one moment occur to me that the gun I found was real — I assumed it was a toy. I picked it up, pointed it at nothing in particular, and was astonished at the noise it made. The room filled with smoke, and I was deafened by a ringing in my ears for several minutes. Afterward, when adults had returned, I learned that the bullet from the gun had gone through an easy chair and bounced off of a wall. I do not know where the bullet ended up. No one was killed, although the three other children in the room very easily could have been hit.

The Eddie Eagle gun safety program is not “Joe Camel with feathers”. It does not promote guns. It does not promote the right the bear arms. It is not a tool of the “gun lobby” (whatever that is). The Eddie Eagle program does one thing and one thing only — it teaches children what to do if they find a gun.

Eddie Eagle

If you see a gun:

Don’t Touch.
Leave the Area.
Tell an Adult.

The purpose of the Eddie Eagle Program isn’t to teach whether guns are good or bad, but rather to promote the protection and safety of children. The program makes no value judgments about firearms, and no firearms are ever used in the program. Like swimming pools, electrical outlets, matchbooks and household poison, they’re treated simply as a fact of everyday life. With firearms found in about half of all American households, it’s a stance that makes sense.

Eddie Eagle is never shown touching a firearm, and he does not promote firearm ownership or use. The program prohibits the use of Eddie Eagle mascots anywhere that guns are present. The Eddie Eagle Program has no agenda other than accident prevention — ensuring that children stay safe should they encounter a gun. The program never mentions the NRA. Nor does it encourage children to buy guns or to become NRA members.

(from What is The Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program?)

The fact that no one died when I found that pistol was sheer luck. That could have been a tragedy. The Eddie Eagle gun safety program has one goal: to prevent that kind of tragedy.

People who oppose this award-winning safety program, putting their political agenda ahead of the safety of children, are contemptible.

Monday, 2010-05-24

DriveThruRPG affiliate links

Filed under: Gaming,Programming — bblackmoor @ 16:57

DriveThruRPGI had a little bit of free time today, so I whipped up a couple of dynamic affiliate links for DriveThruRPG, a very cool source of gaming PDFs.

The script can be called one of three ways. One way creates an affiliate link to one of the five newest items added to DriveThruRPG, the second creates an affiliate link to one of the five best-selling items, and the third creates a random link to an item on either list. I considered animating the affiliate links, so that a different item would appear every few seconds, but to be frank, animated advertisements annoy me. Actually, I do not care for advertisements at all — I hide them, as a matter of fact.

Does this make me a hypocrite? Maybe. However, these are not just advertisements — they are also news. For that reason, I think they are useful, even to people like me who routinely hide ads.

It’s my intention to add these to this blog and to RPG Library, the gaming community site I maintain, but I do not really expect to see much revenue from these. I mainly created them as a service to the gaming community. For that reason, I added a variable so that other people can replace my affiliate ID with their own, if they would like to use these on their own web site.

So check it out. If you have any questions, let me know, and I will try to answer them.

Update 2010-05-25: I added some error-checking in case the description field in DriveThruRPG’s RSS feed contains some bad tags. It doesn’t actually do anything with the errors, but it keeps the script from failing.

Update 2010-05-25, part 2: I expanded the script to be able to handle any of OneBookShelf’s sites.

How Lost ended

Filed under: Movies,Television — bblackmoor @ 09:29

In case you missed the Lost series finale, here it is:

As if a switch had been turned, as if an eye had been blinked, as if some phantom force in the universe had made a move eons beyond our comprehension, suddenly, there was no trail! There was no giant, no monster, no thing called “Douglas” to be followed. There was nothing in the tunnel but the puzzled men of courage, who suddenly found themselves alone with shadows and darkness!

With the telegram, one cloud lifts, and another descends. Astronaut Frank Douglas, rescued, alive, well, and of normal size, some eight thousand miles away in a lifeboat, with no memory of where he has been, or how he was separated from his capsule! Then who, or what, has landed here? Is it here yet? Or has the cosmic switch been pulled?

Case in point: The line between science fiction and science fact is microscopically thin! You have witnessed the line being shaved even thinner! But is the menace with us? Or is the monster gone?

Thursday, 2010-05-13

Babies are stupid and ugly

Filed under: Society — bblackmoor @ 23:20

typical babyI think it’s time to address the elephant in the room. We all know it, and no one wants to say it. Well, I am done with the charade.

Babies are stupid and ugly. No one’s baby is “beautiful”. No one’s baby is “smart”. They are misshapen, shrieking lumps that can’t read or write or tell what is edible and what isn’t. Not only that, but they smell bad: a combination of poop, stale sweat, and spoiled milk.

I don’t mind if you bring your baby to a movie — you are the bad parent, not me. But if it makes noise, I can and will ask you to take the ugly, stupid, foul-smelling creature outside. Having a baby to take care of does not give you special permission to ruin a movie for 400 other people. You chose to have it: we didn’t. We didn’t bring our barking dogs and pneumatic wrenches to the movie, did we? Why do you suppose that is? Think real hard.

That goes for anywhere else in public, too. If you can’t keep your larva quiet, keep it somewhere where it isn’t causing a nuisance for everyone else. Home, your car, or wherever: just not near me.

And when you’re dying I’ll be still alive

Filed under: Gaming,Work — bblackmoor @ 19:31

It looks like I will soon have a gig with a company out of New York doing more or less what I would have done for the ebook publishing company, had I not screwed that up beyond repair. Just consulting work so far, but they are talking about bringing me on full-time. I am still kicking myself over throwing away the opportunity with the ebook company, but having a job will ease the pain the bit. More than a bit: it seems like a really good company. Small, well-funded, and with a product that isn’t going away any time soon.

I need to stop thinking about that ebook job. Regret serves no useful purpose. Ah, well.

By the way, Portal is free on Steam until May 24.

P.S. And when you’re dead I will be still alive.

Wednesday, 2010-05-12

Humble Indie Bundle

Filed under: Gaming — bblackmoor @ 13:15

World Of GooThis is pretty neat. The offer is valid for two more days, so don’t drag your feet.

The Humble Indie Bundle is a unique kind of bundle that we are trying out.

Pay what you want. If you bought these five games separately, it would cost around $80 but we’re letting you set the price!

All of the games work great on Mac, Windows, and Linux. We didn’t want to leave anyone out.

There is no middle-man. You can rest assured that 100% of your purchase goes directly to the developers and non-profits as you specify (minus credit card fees).

We don’t use DRM. When you buy these games, they are yours. Feel free to play them without an internet connection, back them up, and install them on all of your Macs and PCs freely.

Your contribution supports the amazing Child’s Play charity and Electronic Frontier Foundation. By default, the amount is split equally between the seven participants (including Child’s Play and EFF), but you can tweak the split any way you’d like.

And now, thanks to a humble donation from Amanita Design: all contributors are given a free copy of Samorost 2!

Tuesday, 2010-05-11

Career prospects: bad news, good news

Filed under: Gaming,Society,Work — bblackmoor @ 12:53

Bad news for people working at Hasbro on their D&D game line: more layoffs. Actually, rumour has it that Peter Schaefer left voluntarily, as did Andy Collins, but Jesse Decker seems to have been plain old fired. At least Hasbro didn’t do it right before Christmas, as they have in the past. Not like there is ever a good time to lose one’s job, but some times are worse than others. My best wishes to everyone, and I hope you land on your feet and find rewarding positions elsewhere.

On the bright side, experts seem to agree that whenever the Great Recession finally comes to an end, there will be a strong demand for skilled people in a variety of jobs in the USA. Check these out.

In almost entirely unrelated news, Jason Durall (who has done great work on a wide variety of games) answers a battery of questions about his Lords of Gossamer and Shadow (Diceless) game. Interesting stuff.

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